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Girls Exploring Math: the fight for more women in STEM begins early

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Publié le jeudi 19 mai 2022

Girls are often victims of stereotypes and gendered behaviours which keep them from choosing mathematics and other scientific disciplines in their higher studies.

To counter this idea, Hugo Parlier and Bruno Teheux from the Department of Mathematics at the University of Luxembourg organized the GEM initiative for the third consecutive year with the objective to emphasize the evolving role of women in mathematics and to show that mathematics is also for them.

On 12 May, 125  female students from five different high schools in Luxembourg were welcomed at the Maison du Savoir on the Belval campus and took part in several activities around mathematics. The programme included a lecture from mathematician Ann Kiefer, a hands-on workshop “Unpuzzling Mathematics” and an interactive play about the stereotypes in the scientific world faced by girls when choosing what they will study (conducted by the theatre company LAPS). 

Talking about the event Bruno Teheux said, "I was amazed by the energy displayed by the students when there were asked to improvise and fight stereotypes live on stage. It was both moving and refreshing." Ann Kiefer, who gave a keynote speech to a room full of aspiring girl mathematicians, added, "I really loved seeing more than 100 teenagers being all excited and motivated to spend a whole day talking about and doing math." 

"It felt really good to be involved in the fight, but it was also a reminder of how much is left to be done," concluded Hugo Parlier. 

Did you know?

May 12 is also the Women in Mathematics Day! It is celebrated annually on the birthday of Maryam Mirzakhani, the first and only woman to have received the top award in mathematics, the Fields Medal. It is a day when women from all over the world are encouraged to pursue a career in mathematics.